Letter to editor

On Salone Police Ban on Right Hand Vehicles

10 December 2011 at 23:38 | 1225 views

Dear Editor,

I read an article in the Awareness Times New paper on Wednesday 7th December 2011, with the heading “In Sierra Leone, Police to Ban Right Hand Vehicles”.

This was a statement made by the head of the Police traffic division Superintendent Ambrose M Sovula, as his assertion was that 3 to five daily fatal accidents reported in the city were as a result of right hand vehicles disobeying traffic rules.

I want to first of all ask if the Police have the authority to ban right hand vehicles or is it not the Ministry of Transport who are responsible to make these laws? That’s why we have the Road Traffic Act. The job of the Police is to implement and enforce the law, not to create them. I will also like to ask the Police Superintendent to provide us with the statistics of all road accidents that were reported to the Police for this year and how many of them involve right hand drive vehicles.

The cause of road accidents in Sierra Leone is not primarily to do with right hand drive vehicles. The main causes of these accidents are unqualified, unskilled drivers and vehicles that are not road worthy. Most drivers both commercial and private do not obey driving and traffic rules and road signs. In Sierra Leone one can get a driving licence without taking a driving test; what do you expect in a situation like that? Before someone can legaly drive in the United Kingdom, they have to take a theory and practical test to prove their ability to read road signs, assess driving situations and prove that they can be trusted to drive a motor vehicle. What the Police should be concentrating on is educating the drivers on safe driving rules and obeying traffic rules, as if and when they don’t, the result could be catastrophic.

There are lots of left had drive vehicles in the UK as the United Kingdom is the only country in Europe that still uses right hand drive vehicles. But that does not cause lot of road accidents. Also people in the United Kingdom drives to France, Belgium, Germany, Holland etc, and this does not increase the accident rate in these countries.

Has the Superintendent stop to think about how many people he will be making unemployed by banning these vehicles, and also how many household will suffer if this happens.

The Police should be using the print and electronic media to sensitise the people about how to be safe whilst using both left hand and right hand vehicles, and not using right hand drive vehicle owners to score cheap points.

Alphonso Williams

United Kingdom